The biggest news out of all Future Rookies this week: The Washington Nationals agreed to a major-league deal with #1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg to the tune of $15.1 million, a record-setting deal but far less than what agent Scott Boras claimed he’d receive. Strasburg immediately becomes the best pitching prospect in baseball the second he puts on a minor-league uniform. He’ll be the #1 overall pick in dynasty rookie drafts as well, and if you’re lucky enough to have that pick in your rookie draft, don’t hesitate to snatch up Strasburg.
Michael Taylor had a huge day on August 12 against Louisville, hitting for the cycle while going 5-for-5, scoring twice and driving in four runs. Two days later, Taylor went 3-for-5 with another HR against Buffalo. Matt LaPorta went 4-for-4 with two HRs on August 14, and he’s looking ready for another shot with the big boys. Brandon Allen is 12-for-25 with two HRs in his past six games, proving he deserves a September callup to Arizona. Like Allen, there aren’t many hitters hotter than Gaby Sanchez, who has 12 hits (three HRs) in 24 at-bats this week. New addition to the column Dominic Brown has four steals in his last seven games.
Carlos Carrasco has righted the ship, striking out 10 while allowing one run in eight innings on August 11, then going another 7.2 innings while allowing one run again on August 16. Scott Elbert did great in his first game back in Triple-A, pitching four scoreless innings.
Featured Add – Hitter
Chris Carter, 1B/DH, Oak, Age 22, Double-A
Ninja BlackSox: The California League 2008 Rookie of the Year, the Oakland variety of Chris Carter, one of the many pieces of the deal that sent Dan Haren to Arizona, has had an impressive jump to Double-A Midland. While Carter is not on pace for a 39-home run season like he had in High-A, the maturation of his hitting has started to show. He has traded some of the power for a significant jump in average, and while his strikeout rate is still a bit high, he is on pace to strikeout 33 less times in 500 ABs, baby steps. This year, Carter has already surpassed his double total from a year ago (40 already this year after 32 all of ‘09), and he and his 6′4″ 225 pound frame has already robbed 12 bases. The power has always been there for Carter and will always be, despite McAfee in his future. More importantly, his maturation into a complete hitter spells long-term success for him and the A’s. However, even with the release of Giambi, and Barton’s continued stint on the DL, Carter seeing time with the big club this year is unlikely. Look for him on the Major League roster sometime in 2010 and making an impact soon after.
Hitter Performance Review (as of 8/17/09)
Former features Alcides Escobar, Nolan Reimold, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Whitesell and Kyle Blanks have moved on to the majors. Jesus Montero is out for the year.
Featured Add – Pitcher
Martin Perez, SP, Tex, Age 18, Double-A
At 18 years old, Martin Perez could have had trouble with the Single-A South Atlantic League — instead, he went out and dominated that level, striking out 105 batters in 93.2 innings this year. The Rangers decided to look past the age and move Perez up to the Double-A Texas League. Tulsa proved to be too much for Perez in his first start, as the teenager gave up six earned runs before being chased in the third inning. Perez mixes a great strikeout rate (over 10 K/9 at Single-A) with a solid groundball rate, something that is crucial when you pitch in Texas. The young age suggests Perez is still quite a ways away from the majors, but patient dynasty-league owners could do much worse than this talented lefty.
Pitcher Performance Review (as of 8/17/09)
Former features Mat Latos, Junichi Tazawa, Brian Matusz, Jhoulys Chacin, Kris Medlen, Derek Holland, Chris Tillman, and Tommy Hanson have moved on to the majors. Jarrod Parker is out for about a month with a strained pitching elbow.
Since we heard from Bryan in the hitter section, I’ll be looking for a low-minors player for Digging Deeper. I love hearing from you guys, so e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments. See you back here next week!
Derek Norris, C, Was, Age 20, Class-A Advanced
Currently tied for the South Atlantic lead in homers, Norris has shown a great skillset in his short time in professional baseball. He showed great plate discipline in 2008, walking more than striking out en route to a .444 OBP and an OPS over .900. Moving up a level in 2009, he was able to maintain much of that batting eye while adding on power, shooting his OPS up to .940. A catcher with power will find his way to the majors eventually, but a catcher with power and discipline could eventually be a perennial All-Star. Considering he could be catching the newly-signed Strasburg very soon, Norris is definitely one to keep on your watch list.
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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